The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
What a week! The Masters did not disappoint this year as the weather and Sunday’s final round all created some really, really exciting golf and led to some incredible fantasy results as well. Jordan Spieth almost pulled off the incredible double and did so at an incredibly low ownership percentage (under 10% for the Millionaire Maker). I doubt he’ll be that low owned in DFS next year. Luckily for us we get another pretty awesome tournament this week as we head to South Carolina for the RBC Heritage where the players will take on one of the oldest and most revered courses on tour: Hilton Head. This is really a trip back in time as the course forces players to use less than a driver on most holes and rely on smarts rather than brawn. It’s produced some really quality champions in its history and is worth tuning into just to watch the players tackle a true old style course.
We lose a lot of the top players we saw last week unfortunately, as many choose to take this week off after a taxing run-up to the year’s first major. However, world number one Jason Day is still in attendance and as part of team RBC (sponsor) you can bet he’ll be gunning for his second RBC title in the past year (his first being the RBC Canadian Open). Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar and last year’s runner-up Kevin Kisner will also be in attendance making it a pretty intriguing but still wide open event. The field this week will be around 132 golfers meaning well over 50% of the players will make the cut (top 70 and ties). It will be a week where getting 6/6 through the cut line will be a little more accessible and possibly crucial for daily fantasy if some of those higher owned options don’t falter like they did last week.
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, South Carolina
Par 71, 7,000-7100 yards
Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the most idyllic settings the players visit all year and a fine follow up to Augusta National. The course was designed by Pete Dye and has some characteristics about it that make it a much different test from some of the courses the players have been visiting recently. The course features some of the smallest greens on tour and putting your ball in the correct position this week is going to be crucial. Missing on the wrong side of the green or fairway can mean bad things and the fact the course is set alongside the water means windy conditions could rise up and make accuracy an even bigger commodity this week. Hitting greens in regulation here is crucial and last year the top two players played extremely well tee to green ranking first and second for the week in that category. While we’ve seen scrambling be an important factor here, ball striking stats seem like a very important barometer on this course as well.
“…length alone will simply not help you in many spots around Harbour Town.”
The course sets up with a nice mix of challenging holes and easier ones. Two of the par 5’s set up well under 550 yards in length and present extremely good birdie and eagle opportunities for the players (assuming their drives find the fairway). But there’s plenty of challenging holes as well and even though the par 3’s don’t measure all that long, a mix of small greens, hazards and trees make them challenging holes. Last year the par 3, 14th played as toughest hole in the final round despite coming in at just 192 yards, fairly average for PGA tour standards. There’s plenty of long par 4’s as well and the finishing hole, which is right by the ocean, makes for one of the toughest in golf if the wind is up. All in all, you’ll need players with decent all-around skill sets to handle this course as length alone will simply not help you in many spots around Harbour Town.
Last 5 Winners
- 2015 – Jim Furyk
- 2014 – Matt Kuchar
- 2013 – Graeme McDowell
- 2012 – Carl Pettersson
- 2011 – Brandt Snedeker
1) The last five winners have had an average tour rank of 22.4 in scrambling (for the year of their respective victories at Harbour Town).
2) Four of the last five winners of the RBC had recorded TWO top 5 (or better) finishes on tour in the year of their victory, and before their win at Harbour Town.
3) The last five winners had recorded a T7 or better on tour in the year of their victory, and before their respective win at Harbour Town.
1) Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
2) Par 4 Scoring
Even though scrambling and proximity are important here, the course still demands a really strong tee to green game and last year showed that to perfection. Both Kevin Kisner and Jim Furyk ranked first and second in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green here for the week and finished 1st and 2nd (Furyk beat Kisner in a playoff). With that in mind I’ll definitely look at Strokes Gained: Tee to Green this week and also look at par 4 scoring. This is a par 71 course and carries easier par 5’s and a much more difficult set of par 4’s and 3’s. The last two winners have ranked 10th and 3rd respectively in Par 4 Scoring in the year of their victory, and I think strong stats in this category could lead to strong play this week.
“…proximity and scrambling become very key this week.”
My other stats to pay mind to are very course specific. With smaller than average greens and harder to hit fairways, Proximity and Scrambling become very key this week. I’ve already laid out how important scrambling has been for past winners but the last 16 players who have finished inside the top 5 here (2013-2015) have an average rank of 29th in scrambling for the year of their respective finish. There’s no doubt a good short game is important. Approach Proximity also seems important, as 10 of the last 11 winners here have finished 60th or better in that category (thanks to @fantasygolfman for that stat). With small greens the need to be accurate coming into the green isn’t shocking and I like using both proximity and scrambling as course specific stats when deciding what golfers to use.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Sean O'Hair||67-1||$7,200||–Chris Kirk $7700 and 67-1
–Patton Kizzire $7500 and 80-1
-Kyle Reifers $7300 and 80-1
|Ben Martin||67-1||$7,200||–Boo Weekly $7200 and 125-1
–KJ Choi $7500 and 80-1
–Scott Brown $7500 and 80-1
Horses for Courses
1) Luke Donald ($8,300) shows up on our list again and for good reason. In 7 straight starts here he’s amassed five finishes of 5th or better and ended up as runner-up here three times. He’s very in tune with this course even if his current form is lacking.
2) Boo Weekley ($7,200) has a long and steady history here too. He’s a two-time winner of this event and has made the cut in nine straight years, impressive stuff that makes him at least a consideration for DFS purposes this week.
3) Matt Kuchar ($10,300) has played here 11 times since 2004 and never missed a cut. He also won this event back in 2014 and looks like the most reliable option amoung the big boys this week.
4) Rory Sabbatini ($6,200) isn’t someone who has lit the world on fire in 2016, but in his last 6 appearances at the RBC Heritage he’s only finished outside the top twenty once (last year when he missed the cut).
There’s a lot of hoopla still going on from the Masters, so it’s easy to forget players who didn’t play last week. As far as double-up and cash game lineups go I don’t think there’s any need to get fancy, as there’s plenty of good value plays in the $7K-$8K range. With some of the top players possibly a little fatigued or just ‘un-enamoured’ with themselves after Augusta, using a balanced approach and targeting experience and good value at the mid-ranges seems like a decent idea. Even for bigger GPPs I’m not sure I would venture too far down the list here, as past winners have tended to be above average or near elite players, and I think you can fit in many of those type of players this week if you stay above the $6K range.
Top Studs – Recent Weeks
- Paul Casey
- Bill Haas
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
Top Values – Recent Weeks
- Luke List
- Will MacKenzie
- Nick Taylor
RBC Heritage Picks
My Pick: Bill Haas ($9,100)
Haas is kind of the definition of a player who’s not quite elite but is definitely better than the average tour pro. He’s amassed 6 wins already on Tour over his career and a lot of those have come in weaker field events like this one. I really like what the stats say about Haas’ chances for this week though as he’s really improved his driving accuracy (25th on tour) and scrambling statistics (23rd on tour) this season and therefore looks primed to take on a course like Hilton Head. It was only about a month ago that Haas nearly won his seventh tour title at a similar course (Copperhead) and in a similar field at the Valspar. I think his form there bodes well for him this week and after a pretty decent Masters finish I think he can top this somewhat watered-down field.
|The Masters||Rickie Fowler||MC|
|Shell Houston Open||Phil Mickelson||13th|
|Puerto Rico Open||Freddie Jacobson||14th|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Rory McIlroy||28th|
|Valspar Championships||Webb Simpson||MC|
|Cadillac Championships||Henrik Stenson||28th|
|Honda Classic||Brooks Koepka||26th|
|Northern Trust Open||Bubba Watson||1st|
|Pebble Beach||J.B. Holmes||11th|
|WMO Phoenix||Justin Thomas||MC|
|Farmers Pick||Jimmy Walker||T-4th|
|CareerBuilder Pick||Graham DeLaet||T-42nd|
|Sony Open Pick||Danny Lee||T-33rd|
My Sleeper: Zac Blair ($5,800)
Sleeper Qualification: Must be under $7000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned.
I could not find anyone I was super enamored with inside the $6k range, but when I ventured down below that price — which I’m loath to do this week — Zac Blair really stuck out like a sore thumb. Blair is not a big hitter (or a big person for that matter), but he’s a strong scrambler and his approach proximity numbers aren’t bad. Moreover, Blair is someone who should and has prospered on courses like Hilton Head, as he narrowly missed-out on the win earlier in the year in Maui at the tighter Waialae Golf Club. Blair played here last year and made the cut and also comes in off two solid performances on much longer courses. The tables turn in his favour as far as course setup this week, and I think he may have re-found some of that early season form. A top 20 here is definitely possible, and at his price he would be a massive play if that happened. He’s my sleeper this week and a guy who will save you a ton of salary and hopefully get you a ton of points too.
|The Masters||Chris Kirk||MC|
|Shell Houston Open||Sean O’Hair||10th|
|Puerto Rico Open||Scott Langley||T-8th|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||Harold Varner||MC|
|Valspar Championships||George McNeil||T-11th|
|Cadillac Championships||Daniel Berger||28th|
|Honda Classic||Jon Curran||MC|
|Northern Trust Open||Scott Pinckney||MC|
|Pebble Beach||Alex Prugh||MC|
|WMO Phoenix||Jason Kokrak||MC|
|Farmers Sleeper||Robert Garrigus||T-50th|
|CareerBuilder Sleeper||Chez Reavie||T-17th|
|Sony Open Sleeper||Daniel Summerhays||T-13th|